by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright February 2017
Script Analysis of An Education
Analyze the script in a 2-3 page, double-spaced paper.
ELEMENTS OF YOUR ANALYSIS:
- Structure (does the writer follow a 3-act structure format? What are the major plot points?)
- Character (What makes the lead characters interesting/compelling?)
- Theme (What are the film's major themes?)
- Tone (What is the genre of this script? How can you tell?)
-- Structure (does the writer follow a 3-act structure format? What are the major plot points?)
Yes, the structure on this is pretty standard. We are introduced to Jenny, the protagonist, and her situation in act one, the story catalyst is her meeting David and his fancy car, and his taking a serious interest in getting to know her better.
In act two he is showing her a good life she has dreamed of, and he is clever enough to find ways to befriend her parents. He asks her to marry him and Jenny decides to take him up and give up on her schooling and ambition to get into Oxford.
At the beginning of act three the obstacles to Jenny's choice become clear: David is already married, so much for Jenny's dream life of being the wife of a rich globe-trotter. The rest of the act is explaining further the motives of the various characters. The happy ending is Jenny getting back on track to getting into Oxford, and showing her for-real giving up on David.
-- Character (What makes the lead characters interesting/compelling?)
o Jenny is compelling because she is 16 and attractive, ambitious, clever. She is dating a 30 year old man and loving it.
o David is compelling because he's a 30 year old who is cleverly figuring out how to date a 16 high school girl. Part of that is introducing her to high society circles and what they do, and part of it is getting her parents to support this. This traveling through new social circles is what really gets Jenny's attention.
o Jack and Marjorie are doing a fine job as working class, provincial, class conscious, parents. But class conscious as they are, they support Jenny's ambition.
o Helen is a fashion aware, not so bright, gold-digger. Her companion Danny helps David conduct his shady business dealings.
-- Theme (What are the film's major themes?)
o How working class people express their ambition
o How an old man can show interest in a young girl
o Showing some high class ostentatiousness
-- Tone (What is the genre of this script? How can you tell?)
It's a romance, Romeo and Juliet style -- with ill-starred lovers. But unlike Romeo and Juliet this is about 1960's middle class people and the ending is much less tragic.
-- Memorable moments (What is the best part of the script, in your opinion?)
o Danny is clever at getting Jenny to pay attention to him in the beginning and getting in the good graces of her parents
o Watching Jenny get so attracted to the high society life
o Watching both Jenny and David be clever throughout the story
o The ending worked well for me, except for two elements: a) that the headmistress didn't think that Jenny could learn from her David relation mistake, b) that the appeal to teacher Stubbles to continue on the Oxford track worked out so quickly and well. (Stubbles needed to be better developed in the story for this to feel good at the end.)
-- Questions and thoughts that came up for me as I was reading:
o Technical question: What do the stars on the right-hand side of some of the lines in the script represent?
o This is heavy on British slang. I found myself looking up lots of words.
page 24 -- **INT. JULIETTE’S. NIGHT**
Is Juliet's well enough known that it doesn't need a description?
page 46 -- Yeah! Clever getting the invite of Jenny to come along
page 56 -- The reveal, how David and Danny are shady types.
page 74 -- **How can you go back to double
French when you’ve had a weekend with an older man**
double French? Eh? Some slang I'm not familiar with?
page 75 -- Nice Stubbs talk about clever Jenny and pretty Jenny
page 82 -- **Suddenly the door bursts open and the Latin teacher comes in.**
Was this a deliberate "catch them" come in, or was she surprised at what she saw?
page 85 -- Jack's reaction to the marriage proposal and the relation to aspiring to Oxford is a little surprising. If he supports Jenny's ambition, why doesn't he show more signs of ambition himself? Why didn't he do the male equivalent of "the nightclub circuit", as he calls it, when he was a younger man?
page 88 -- **JENNY
Nobody has been able to explain
to me the point of University.**
Ouch! This could be just a flippant response, but why has she been striving at this for years without a good reason? This seems inconsistent.
page 89 -- but a nice Jenny snap back.
page 102 -- **JENNY What’s your address?**
Inconsistency: She could have read this off the letters. ...as comes up shortly.
...that being the case, why hadn't she spotted the Bristol months or years before?
page 108 -- Editorial: Wow! David can afford both two children, a wife, and luxuriating Jenny? ...as well as others before her from what his wife hints. He sure is a prosperous fellow!
Nice Jack explaining his motivations.
page 110 -- Editorial: headmistress doesn't think her students can learn?
page 115 -- Editorial: Jenny's ending accusation could be a bit stronger. And David still has the same Bristol? Given how he makes his living, that seems odd. There should be people chasing him down.